Skip to main content

Full text of "The Letters Of Horace Walpole Vol I"

See other formats

To Horace Mann
The Secret Committee are in great perplexities about Scrope6: he would not take the oath, but threatened the Middlesex justices who tendered it to him:  'Gentlemen,' said he, ' have you any complaint against me ? if you have not, don't you fear that I will prosecute you for enforcing oaths?'   However, one of them began to read the oath— 'I, John Scrope!'—'I, John Scrope!' said he; 'I did not say any such thing:  but come, however, let's  hear the oath ;'—' do promise that I will faithfully and truly answer all such questions as shall be asked me by the Committee of Secrecy, and—' they were going on, but Scrope cried out,  ' and!  Hold, hold!  there is more than I can digest already.'   He then went before the Committee, and  desired time to  consider.     Pitt asked him abruptly,  if he wanted a quarter of an hour;  he replied,   'he did not want to  inform either his head  or his heart,  for both were satisfied what to do;  but that he would ask the King's leave.'    He wants to fight Pitt.    He is a most testy  little   old  gentleman,   and  about   eight   years   ago would  have   fought   Alderman   Perry.     It   was   in   the House,   at  the  time  of the  excise:   he  said we should carry it;  Perry said he hoped to see him hanged first. 'You see  me  hanged,  you  dog,  you!' said Scrope,  and pulled him by the nose.    The Committee have tried all ways to soften him, and have offered to let him swear to only what part he pleased, or only with regard to money given to members of Parliament.    Pulteney himself has tried to work on him; but the old gentleman is inflexible, and answered, ' that he was fourscore years old, and did not care if he spent the few months he has to live7 in the Tower or not; that the last thing he would do should be to betray
6 John Scrope, Secretary of the Treasury. He had been in Mon-mouth's rebellion, when very young,
and carried intelligence to Holland in woman's clothes.    Walpole. 7 He did not die till 1753.